Archangels


Home - St George
 
Angels Main Page
 
 Gabriel
 
 Michael - Main
  Byzantine Miracles
  Miracle at Chonae
 
Fallen Angels
 
Angels in Old Testament
 
Angels in New Testament
 

Fathers on Angels
  Dionysius
  John of Damascus

 
Angels in Divine Liturgy
 
Icons of Angels


"Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord of Sabaoth, the earth is full of your glory."
Is 6:1-3




cross

 

 

Michael RublevArchangel Michael

The Holy Archangel Michael is one of the most celebrated of the Angels and bodiless powers; he is called the Archistrategos, or chief commander, of all the bodiless powers. According to Holy Scripture and Tradition, he has interceded for humanity multiple times and continues to serve as the Defender of the Faith The name Michael means "like unto God" or "Who is like unto God?"

Michael first appears in the Old Testament in the book of Joshua's account of the fall of Jericho. Though Michael is not mentioned by name in the text, it is said that Joshua "looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand." When the still unaware Joshua asks which side of the fight the Archangel is on, Michael responds, "neither...but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come" (Joshua 5:13-14).

In the book of Daniel, Michael appears first to help the Archangel Gabriel defeat the Persians (10:13). In a later vision it is revealed to Daniel that "at that time [the end times] Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then..." (Ch. 12)1. Michael thus plays an important role as the protector of Israel and later of his chosen people, the Church.

The Church Fathers also ascribe to Michael the following events: During the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt he went before them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; the power of the great Chief Commander of God was manifest in the annihilation of the 185 thousand soldiers of the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib (4/2 Kings 19:35); also in the smiting of the impious leader Heliodorus (2 Macc. 3: 24-26); and in the protection of the Three Holy Youths: Ananias, Azarias and Misail, thrown into the fiery furnace for their refusal to worship an idol (Dan 3:22-25). Through the will of God, the Chief Commander Michael transported the Prophet Habbakuk (December 2) from Judea to Babylon, to give food to Daniel in the lions' den (Dan. 14:33-37). The Archangel Michael disputed with the devil over the body of the holy Prophet Moses (Jude 1:9).

In New Testament times, the holy Archangel Michael showed his power when he miraculously saved a young man, cast into the sea by robbers with a stone about his neck on the shores of Mt Athos. This story is found in the Athonite Paterikon, and in the Life of St Neophytus of Docheiariou (November 9).
Perhaps his most famous miracle, though, is the salvation of the church at Colossae. Here a number of pagans tried to destroy this church by diverting the flow of two rivers directly into its path. However, the Archangel appeared amongst the waters, and, carrying a cross, channeled the rivers underground so that the ground the church stood on would not be destroyed. The spring which came forth after this event is said to have special healing powers.

Michael also has been associated with healing in other cases, as well as his primary role as leader of the Church Militant. He has been said to appear to Emperor Constantine the Great (d. 337) at Constantinople, to have intervened in assorted battles, and appeared, sword in hand, over the mausoleum of Hadrian, in apparent answer to the prayers of Pope St. Gregory I the Great (r. 590-604) that a plague in Rome should cease.
Russians in particular have a special veneration to Michael, along with the Theotokos. According to OCA, "Intercession for Russian cities by the Most Holy Queen of Heaven always involved Her appearances with the Heavenly Hosts, under the leadership of the Archangel Michael. Grateful Rus acclaimed the Most Pure Mother of God and the Archangel Michael in church hymns. Many monasteries, cathedrals, court and merchant churches are dedicated to the Chief Commander Michael. In Rus there was not a city where there was not a church or chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael."

The Holy Archangel Michael
Iconography

MichaelThe angelic hosts have to defend the creation against the spiritual powers which seek to cast it into ruin. The Apocalypse shows us the celestial war was, which Michael and his angels fight against the dragon and his angels (Rev 12:7-9), a war which continues on earth in the spiritual combats in which men are assisted by angels. Hence the warrior like character that angelic apparitions often take. Thus, the "captain of the Lord" appeared to Joshua with a sword in his hand (Joshua 5:13-15). the Archangel Michael "chief captain of the host" (Archistrategos) presides over the struggle against the forces of the demons: "there where thy grace appears, the power of the demons is pursued; for the fallen Lucifer cannot bear to see thy light. We pray thee then to extinguish his burning features, directed against us... and to free us from his temptations.
The icon shown here (Balkan, ca. 1600) is of the Archangel Michael. In his quality of Captain of the Hosts, the warrior angel wears a cloak which, on our icon , is red in color. The sword that he holds in his right hand is at the same time his weapon and the insignia of commander. In his left hand he carries before his breast an image of Jesus Christ. The head of the archangel is adorned with ribbons. Habitually, the ends of he ribbons flow from either side of the head: they should symbolize the spiritual hearing of the angel, attentive to the divine commands. On our icon these ribbons are partly effaced. The inscription at the top reads: "Archangel Michael."
From Meaning of Icons by Lossky, Palmer, and Kadloubousky

There are several icons of the Archangel Michael that he has personally intervened miraculously to the "authoring" of his image;

Mantamados Icon
Archangel Michael of Mantamados (Gr. O Μανταμάδος) refers to a miraculous icon of the Archangel Michael on the island of Lesvos. The monastery is known locally as Taxiarches (the "Archangel"). There are two accounts surrounding the date of this icon, one having to do with the Ottoman Turkish occupation and destruction of 1462, and the other with Saracen pirates during the 9th and 10th centuries during which the entire island was invaded. In either case, the story of the creation of the icon shares the theme that the target of the raids was the monastery of the Taxiarchis. The pirates threatened the monks with death if they would not reveal the whereabouts of the hidden villagers. The monks refused and the invaders slaughtered all of the monks except for one novice-monk
As the pirates where leaving, the novice climbed to the roof of the monastery to be sure that the pirates had left. However, the pirates noticed him from afar and returned to kill him as well. It is at this point in the story that the Archangel Michael makes his appearance in front of the Saracens with his own sword drawn forcing them to retreat in terror. Thanks to this miracle from the Archangel the monk survived and descending to the courtyard buried the bodies of his fellow brotherhood. The monk still in deep respect and reverence for having witnessed the Archangel Michael in all his fury, gathered up the earth that was red by the blood of the martyred monks and shaped it into the icon-sculpture of the Archangel as it is today; while it was still vivid in his memory. According to legend, the monk did not have enough of this dirt-blood mix and so the head of the Archangel has turned out disproportionately larger to the rest of his body.
This icon, is now kept within the interior of the church. Many islanders claim to have had personal experiences of miracles being granted for them by Mantamados.
This defies the traditional structure of iconography. His upper-torso is represented as a three-dimensional image mixed with dirt and blood of martyrs and he is a warrior. His face is alive and he will mirror the condition of your soul by the expression on his face.

MichaelPanormitis Icon
Symi island of the Dodecanese, Greece, is situated in southeast Aegean sea and northwest of Rhodes. While touring around the island you will see many churches and monasteries devoted to the Archangel Michael. The Greek Orthodox Monastery of Taxiarchis Mihail Panormitis is the most important on the island and second largest in the DodecaneseIn the church is the famous icon of the Archangel Michael Panormitis, who is not only considered the island's patron saint but also the guardian of sailors in the entire Dodecanese area. One story is that this icon appeared miraculously and, on several occasions, was removed only to reappear mysteriously in this same location. The church was then built over the location, which, other sources suggest, was also a template to Apollo.

 

 

 

MichaelIn Russian iconography he is most likely to be wearing red. In many instances, Michael tramples the devil under his feet, which may be depicted as a dragon. This comes from the tradition that Michael was the main opponent of Satan in the battle for Heaven. Satan, previously called Samael, was always looking to discredit Israel, while Michael was its main protector. In the end, Satan attempted to drag Michael down in his fall from the heights, but Michael was rescued by God.

Miracle at Colossae or Chonae


Hymns

Troparion (Tone 4) [1]
Commanders of the heavenly hosts,
we who are unworthy beseech you,
by your prayers encompass us beneath the wings of your immaterial glory,
and faithfully preserve us who fall down and cry to you:
"Deliver us from all harm, for you are the commanders of the powers on high!"

Kontakion (Tone 2) [2]
Commanders of God's armies and ministers of the divine glory,
princes of the bodiless angels and guides of mankind,
ask for what is good for us, and for great mercy,
supreme commanders of the Bodiless Hosts.